Step back 4,000 years to the sun kissed lands of the Pharaohs.
Hamilton Gardens’ story of civilisations and gardens begins in Ancient Egypt. Our Ancient Egyptian Garden is believed to be the first recreation of this sacred garden type. Enter the world of ancient Egypt.
Stroll back in time. Take shelter from the sweltering sun beneath the vines on the pergola. Gaze upon the hieroglyphics and the stars on the temple’s portico ceiling. Sit awhile among the sacred plants. Imagine you have come to ensure your soul will have safe passage through the dangers of the underworld into the promises of the afterlife. Visit the garden today to experience it for yourself.
How have the elements of the gardens been recreated?
Temples, high walls and pergolas
Archaeologists know a lot about what these ancient gardens looked like. Temple compounds all shared a similar, highly symbolic design. They were enclosed by high walls. The gardens featured a central, rectangular pool, with pergolas covered in grapevines, and rows of trees often linked with irrigation channels.
Each element of the temple court was symbolic. The massive walls on each side of the entrance reflected the two mountains on the horizon between which the sun would rise each day, symbolising rebirth. The garden represented the land of Egypt, celebrating the annual harvest and flooding of the Nile. At the far end of the garden was the temple itself, with its sacred inner sanctum off-limits to all but the highest priests.
The pillars of the temple and pergola are stylised forms of the papyrus plant, representing the stems that hold up the blue sky. The portico has a ceiling painted to represent the heavens. The two false doors to the side of the temple allowed an exit point for the spirits.
What were Egyptian temples and their gardens used for?
For ancient Egyptians, life on earth was a preparation for the dangerous journey into the afterlife.
Temples and their gardens were a meeting place between heaven, earth and the underworld. It was here that priests performed the rituals that kept the universie in balance and the foreces of chaos at bay.
Temple gardens produced the floral, vegetable, and fruit offerings for these sacred rituals. They grew the plants used in perfumes for anointing statues to the gods and garlands of flowers for religious processions.
3 interesting facts about the garden
- Archaelogists have identified at least a hundred plants that were regularly used in temple gardens. Most of these can be grown in New Zealand.
- Temple gardens were often also a home to sacred animals, including baboons.
- Our Temple Garden is based on a typical temple from the Middle Kingdom period (2040 BCE to 1782 BCE).
Come and visit the Ancient Egyptian Garden today. The meeting place between heaven, earth, and the underworld.
Proud supporters of the Ancient Egyptian Garden
Friends of Hamilton Gardens
Gardenia Club – Leopard couches
John and Glenice Gallagher Foundation
The Fraser Family